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Monday, Apr. 30, 2007 at 11:10 am

Do Men and Women Process Images Differently?

By Holly Buchanan
April 30th, 2007

coupleimages.jpgyes and no, some conflicting studies say. In this now famous eye-tracking study, researchers found men and women focused on slightly different, er, body parts.

But now antother study has come out, saying men and women both look at faces and, um, other body parts.

So what’s really going on? I think the second study points out two interesting things:

  • Women’s focus changed depending on their hormone level
  • Women spent more time than men focusing on couples that were “intertwined”, if you know what I mean

I’ve started studying how men and women process images. One of my theories is that women are more interested in images with more than one person. They are intrigued by the relationship between the people in the image. I’m still researching, so don’t know if it’s true, but it’s a hunch.

I ran across a blog post Alex Harris did in 2004 talking about some testing Netflix was doing on their home page. Go check out the two examples: One is an image of a couple enjoying a movie, the other contains images of hit movies.

Now, I don’t know if this is really a male vs. female thing. It could be a Humanistic vs. Spontaneous-type thing. Humanistics are very relationship-focused. Spending time with a loved one may be more important than watching the movie. Spontaneous folks love action and adventure. They may prefer the actual act of watching the movie and not be that concerned with who they are watching it with.

But I wonder how these images would test if broken down by gender. Would women prefer the “relationship” image of the man and woman on the couch with the popcorn and wine? Would men prefer the “hit movie titles” image?

What do you think? Any preferences? Ladies? Gents?

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Comments (12)

  1. Thanks Holly. I have done a bunch of testing with male vs female imagery. I guest it makes sense, but males were usually more engaged to click/convert when there were pictures of women on the pages. Even when selling a product tailored to man, I have found they just don’t identify will primarily male imagery.

  2. Good job… Holly… I liked the classification as Humanistic vs. Spontaneous-type that sounds good..

  3. [...] women are more interested in images with more than one person (source). [...]

  4. [...] and women view images differently and respond differently to humor. This impacts conversion for advertising, website imagery and [...]

  5. [...] and women view images differently and respond differently to humor. This impacts conversion for advertising, website imagery and [...]

  6. right. women care more about their image. women are more like emotional animal while men are rational animals. but it is not absolute. women also can make economy and politics pretty well while men also could be nice house-husband! lol

  7. Men and women do process images different.

  8. [...] findings are ambiguous, many investigations have found that men and women see both colors and images differently. Women are likely to know (and to be able to name) more colors, their color preferences are more [...]

  9. [...] and color preferences and may respond differently to your site’s design. They respond to images and even humor differently, so it’s likely when we ourselves are making design decisions, we [...]

  10. [...] and color preferences and may respond differently to your site’s design. They respond to images and even humor differently, so it’s likely when we ourselves are making design decisions, we may [...]

  11. [...] to a recent eye mapping study, women process images differently than guys do. Here are some of those [...]

  12. [...] to a recent eye mapping study// , women process images differently than guys do. Here are some of those [...]

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Holly Buchanan is a marketing to women consultant specializing in marketing to women online. You can read her blog at http://marketingtowomenonline.typepad.com She is the co-author, along with Michele Miller of The Soccer Mom Myth - Today's Female Consumer - Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys.

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